Known Tombstone Carvers
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Alex White 1788 - 1848
Alex White Jr., 1823 - 1863
(Biography and Photographs contibuted by Bill Plack)
Purviance Cemetery, Claysville, Washington County
Alexander White began carving tombstones in Washington County, PA in the early 1800’s and the White name is still associated with monuments in the Washington area nearly 200 years later. I have read that Alex White began his work in Donegal Township, in the town that became Claysville, as early as 1811, but the earliest stone that I can attribute to him is dated 1824. After being operated by several generations of the White family the business was eventually sold to others but is still operating in 2007 under the name Simon White’s Sons.
The stones that I have seen that are marked “A. White” range from 1824 to 1861 but there were two A. Whites who carved during that period, Alex White and Alex White, Jr. Since Alex lived from 1788 to 1848, and Alex, Jr. lived from 1823 to 1863, it is difficult to attribute some of the stones to one or the other. Obviously the earliest stones were carved by Alex and the latest were carved by Alex, Jr., but there was a period of time, perhaps from around 1838 to 1848, when a stone signed A. White could have been carved by either of them.
By 1860, the US census for Claysville showed Alexander White (Jr.) as a marble cutter and his 15 year old son, Simon, as an apprentice. By 1870 Alex, Jr. had died and the census for Claysville showed Simon White as a marble cutter. One of Simon White’s sons, Samuel, also became a marble cutter. Samuel’s sons, George and William White, both followed in the business which grew from a single shop in Claysville to include branches in Washington, Waynesburg, Brownsville, Steubenville, Wheeling and Moundsville. After the death of George White, William sold the business to others outside the family.
I would like to think that the monument for Alex White (shown above) was carved by Alex, Jr., and the tombstone for Alex, Jr. was carved by his son Simon. Of course, I have no way of knowing if this is so but it does seem logical and it would be a fine tribute from one generation of tombstone carvers to another.
Known Examples of
Alex White and Alex White, Jr.'s
Claysville, Washington County, PA
Beallsville, East Bethlehem Township, Washington County
Grove United Presbyterian Cemetery
West Middleton, Hopewell Township, Washington County
Oak Spring Cemetery
Canonsburg, Washington County, PA
St. James Cemetery
West Alexander, Donegal Township, Washington County
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Tombstone Carver Page maintained by Ellis Michaels
this page was last updated 27 Apr 2011
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